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Partnerize POV: Google’s Reputation Update & How It Affects Publishers

May 29, 2024

VP, Global Partnerships

Ranked the most popular search engine in the world with nearly 92% market share, Google is widely known as the arbiter of online visibility. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the behemoth prioritizes algorithmic updates that, purportedly, safeguard their users and ensure optimal experiences. While these updates are designed to protect the end user, they can also cause collateral damage for the brands that rely on Google to reach consumers in the first place, most recently with Parasite SEO, or, Google Reputation Update.


What is Google’s Reputation Update?

In early March, Google updated their spam policies to include Google Reputation Update (formerly known as Parasite SEO) with a goal of improving search quality by serving up content presumed to be more useful to the end user as opposed to automated or generative AI-built results that were designed to attract clicks.  Essentially, Google refined its algorithm to prioritize trustworthy and reputable sources, and websites with a history of misleading or deceptive practices are likely to see their rankings dip. You can learn more about the policy here


What is Expected? 

Although the update is estimated to take several weeks to be in full effect, leading performance marketing partners have already found themselves caught in the crossfire of the update–victims of both the algorithm changes as well as manual updates deployed by Google–due to scaled content abuse.


What was the Result?

As shown here, a common denominator for those hit following Google Reputation Update are partners that employ the use of coupons, including white-label use of coupon content. For coupon publishers, this is a call to continue ensuring transparency and authenticity in their deals and promotions, while fully eliminating any less-than-savory tactics that may trigger a Google rank dip.




Alternatively, partners that custom-curate their own content, sponsored posts and resources that aid in a consumers’ path to purchase have less competition in SERPs–steps that will allow these partners to rise to the top of search results and create new opportunities with brands seeking to reach and engage target audiences.


What is the Partnerize Position on Google’s Reputation Update?

Partnerize is actively monitoring revenue and related conversions across cohorts of select partners on a trending basis to understand areas of impact.


For partners, we are here to support you! In the meantime, take the recommended actions below to stay in-the-know regarding the Google Reputation Update changes:

  • Get educated. Learn more about the algorithm changes to gain an understanding of the update as well as what you can do to remain relevant in searches–a critical component to maintaining your revenue.
  • Check if you’ve been hit.  Before the algorithmic portion of the change goes into effect, check if you were manually hit by Google by navigating to Security & Manual Actions in your Google Search Console. From there, click Manual Actions.
  • Audit your content. Update pages that are developed using generative AI or another automated curation tool such as feeds. Further, ensure that your content provides unique value to consumers that isn’t accessible elsewhere.


Looking Ahead: Content Development Amidst Google Reputation Update

While the Google Reputation Update is intended to improve user experience, the policy is a one-two punch for partners that are actively trying to offset revenue losses caused by third-party cookie deprecation. However, among the challenges lie opportunities.


The key takeaway of Google’s spam update is to provide unique value to the end user, as the update underscores Google’s mission to provide the most relevant content of the highest quality. Partners must diversify their monetization strategies beyond discounts to provide engaging, informative content that enriches the user experience–content that builds credibility in the eyes of both consumers and search engines.

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